by Neal Donohue
Copyright 2012 by Neal Donohue
All Rights Reserved
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Cover Design and Interior Formatting by Caligraphics
Richard Hartley awoke from his lonely bed, stared up at the large, black clock glaring back at him and groaned. It was six. Time to work. Before groping his way out of bed, he paused to wonder why a minute-hand always inched up to the twelve at the exact same speed it fell back down to the six. It was an idle thought.
Dawn was breaking through the gray laced curtains of his one room apartment. Sunlight began to slip through his venetian blinds, off-setting the darkness surrounding him, creating an unwelcomed pattern of prison stripes across his chest. One bleak streak struck his eye unaware, causing him to painfully raise his palm to his face. As he rolled out of bed, Richard reviewed the plans he had made for his final day at work, but grew alarmed by an unexpected odor emanating into the room. He glanced over at dishes in his sink, piled up for the last three days, festering in a pyramid of decay. He turned aside in disgust.
Shuffling to his clothes-closet, he took down his brown suit, white shirt, and one of the only two ties that he owned, a drab blue one he received at an office party last Christmas. He carefully laid his clothes on his bed and took a shower. After shaving, he combed the remaining strands of graying hair across his head, opened his mahogany chest of drawers, and removed a newly purchased nine millimeter Glock from a bubble wrapped package. Slipping it into his briefcase, Richard Hartly realized there was nothing left to prepare. This day had been painstakingly planned for several days, and he had left nothing to chance. He squared the knot of his tie, buttoned his suit, and began his final journey to Hapsburg, and Hapsburg, Law Associates.